High School Student Pilot and AOPA scholarship receiver - New to the Hangar!

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High School Student Pilot and AOPA scholarship receiver - New to the Hangar!

Posted by Seth Wiersma on Nov 25, 2018 12:54 pm

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About Myself: Hi, my name is Seth Wiersma as you can probably see from my profile. I am currently 17 and finishing high school. I got into aviation when I was about 12 going to the local r.c. airstrip where I would fly my r.c. plane with my friend. After a few years I thought it would be cool to check out the real airplanes at the local airport (KPSO) where I live in Pagosa Springs, CO. The first time I went out there my dad took me and I was awestruck by the magnificent flying machines sitting on the ramp. So, after we left that day I decided I wanted to go back again to see more aircraft. My parents could not take me every weekend and we live 6 miles away with lots of hills so walking was not an option. Eventually I came up with a brilliant idea and bought a 49cc motor off of eBay to get me there. Every weekend I would pour some gas in the tank from the lawn mower gas can and make my way over there. I did this for about a year and got to talk to lots of pilots who gave me good advise and even showed me around their aircraft. I also got to get to know the airport manager and staff very well. The manager said when I turned 16 he would see if he could hire me. So the next year when I turned 16 in June, 2017 I was hired. I got to learn valuable information about how things work in aviation including directing planes, fueling them, using the tug, washing planes, office work, and a lot more. But not all the jobs I had there were that glamorous. I also had to empty the waste tanks on private jets and scrub the floors and bathrooms in the fbo office. Overall, my experience there was awesome and I wouldnt trade it for anything! Unfortunately I was not able to work there again this year due to schooling and travel but when I did work there I made a great friend who took me on my first small airplane ride on his Beechcraft Baron. Since then he has sold that plane but has been so kind to take me up in his RV-6 once in a while. I also help him with maintenance in his hangar and washing his plane. About 4 months ago he sent me a link to AOPA’s You Can Fly high school scholarship program via email. I decided to give it a try since there was nothing to loose. I was not  expecting to receive anything considering the amount of people apply. 2 months later I got a phonecall from the director of You Can Fly saying they chose me to recieve one of 22 $5,000 scholarships given out and there was over 1,000 people that applied. I was so excited I did not know what to say. In September I flew out to Dallas where my grandparents live and went to Aviatior Air at Grand Prairie Municiple Airport (KGPM) to start working on getting my private pilots license. Due to funding and weather I was not able to finish and get my license but I was able to solo in a Cessna 172 R. That was an amazing experience I will never forget. I am now back home and looking for a part time job so I can pay to join the flying club and get signed off on one of their aircraft so I can log more hours. I have also been fascinated with the new drone technology so last year while I was working at the airport I studied hard for about 2 months and then went to Denver, CO where I took the FAA part 107 commercial drone test and passed. I became the youngest licensed commercial drone pilot in Colorado. I bought a DJI Phantom 4 Advanced+ and hope to start a small drone photography business to help with my aviation funding. I am now a member of AOPA and would recommend being a member to anyone. My goal is to make aviation as a career and help others with the same goal someday! If  anyone has advise on directions I could go after I complete my private pilot license let me know. :)
Seth Wiersma
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Re: High School Student Pilot and AOPA scholarship receiver - New to the Hangar!

Posted by Gary Justus on Dec 7, 2018 11:25 pm

Don't overlook Metro State in Denver at Aurora next to downtown Denver. They have an impressive aviation four year degree program and facility. Also, Aims Community College, formerly at KGXY Greeley is moving to Fort Collins-Loveland KFNL. Both offer in-state tuition to you. Look also for what programs various airlines have to offer. There has never been a better time for someone wanting to enter the ranks of professional piloting.